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A USC Architectural ‘Whodunit’

Most folks love a good mystery! A twisting, turning plot that gets more complicated at every turn. Details become more blurred and facts become elusive in the best mystery. Now, the plot thickens around a story that involves USC, Samuel and Harriet Freeman and the work of Frank Lloyd Wright and Rudolph Schindler.

Samuel and Harriet Freeman commissioned Wright to design their home in the Hollywood Hills into an epic showplace for them. Wright did just that! He designed a breathtaking home and ringed the living room with tall windows that provided stunning views of Highland Avenue and the surrounding hills. Among the furnishings he designed for the home were six-foot tall iron lamps. Later, Schindler added his touches to the residence with his own unique furnishings. Samuel died in 1981 and Harriet passed in 1986. Their luxurious home and furnishings were left to the USC School of Architecture, trusting they would treasure the property as a site for meetings, classes and historic preservation.  Ah, the best-laid plans!

Over the years, USC School of Architecture quickly found out the true expense of maintaining and preserving this treasure and its contents. In 1994, the home was severely damaged in the Northridge Earthquake. It took over eight years to secure $1 million dollars from FEMA for the restoration work. In 2000, USC secured a warehouse with a large open space and one lockable storage room. The contents of the home were moved into storage and the lamps and sofa were locked into the smaller storage space. For 10 years, the contents sat in storage, sometimes glimpsed by USC faculty, staff and students. The plot thickens!

In 2012, USC staffers noticed the lamps and sofa missing. There was only one key in existence and no signs of forced entry or vandalism. Despite the obvious value of the items taken, no one at USC filed a report with campus police, LAPD or the university’s insurance carriers. Talk of the theft circulated among some at the architecture school, but few outsiders had any knowledge. Ultimately, someone with some intimate knowledge of the theft sent an anonymous email to the LA Times tipping them off. The Times worked with USC on the information and the school found enough validity in the information to finally formally report and investigate the crime. USC Police reported the incident to the LAPD in mid-January for investigation.

Now that the investigation is in the appropriate hands, this incident has created a great deal of concern for USC, the USC School of Architecture and the architecture community at large. The value of the missing items is considerable and classify this incident as a felony. It is the hope of most professionals that the items are recovered and returned to a restored property that pays respect to Samuel and Harriet Freeman, along with Wright and Schindler. The question remains — Whodunit?

From the ADG Factory Floor

 Customized LED color change lens installed into ring pendant…

Adg Lighting Factory 

by Gerald Olesker, CEO, ADG Lighting


Austin Texas Apple Adg

Apple Expands In Austin, Texas

When most people thinking of Austin, TX, they think of a capital city located in the geographic center of the state. It is known for hosting the University of Texas, a vibrant entertainment and music scene, and a growing population of citizens from across the US. It also hosts center stage in the state’s positive economic health as a hotbed for several sectors – including real estate, medical, and technology. It is often referred to as ‘Silicon Hills’ due to the large number of technology companies who make their home here.

Apple has announced that they will be significantly expanding their presence in Austin and growing the economic and societal influence of the capital city. Even though they currently maintain a presence in Austin, Apple has committed to a $1 billion dollar campus expansion. The new facility will contain three million square feet of space. Between the new facility and the current space, Apple estimates they will create an additional 20,000 new jobs for the Austin economy.  The expansion will be part of an overall growth plan across the US, with other facilities planned in Seattle, San Diego, and Culver City.

Since 2013, Austin has been recognized in the top five cities for growth in the US, with most experts rating it No. 1. Texas has capitalized on low taxes and cheap real estate to draw in jobs from the rest of the country. It has been lauded as perhaps the nation’s only remaining competitive real estate market in the country. Other reasons for Austin’s population surge have been also attributed to its lower cost of living compared with the East and West Coasts to its bustling jobs market. However, with unemployment at historic lows, the job market is now extremely tight. These factors have created the perfect opportunity for Apple to expand in the Austin area.

From the Factory Floor

Another sneak peek at our copper wrap light fixtures in progress for Shaquille O’Neal’s new restaurant in Downtown LA at LA Live! 


by Gerald Olesker, CEO, ADG Lighting

Krantz 3

Featured Professional: Richard Krantz, Architect

Today, we’re featuring one of our favorite tradesman, Richard Krantz! Richard has been a noted architect for over twenty-five years and has worked on some of Southern California’s most beautiful homes.

Deciding to start his own firm, Richard Krantz Architecture, was a natural fit for Richard. He loves to do creative design, so having his own firm gave him the most opportunity to do so. He also loves to travel and does volunteer work by donating his time and talents to architecture projects in poor areas of the world.

Most of Richard’s work has been in Southern California, but that’s because that’s where his firm and home are. He wants to work wherever there are good properties with clients who have the vision, budget, and goals to create authentic architecture.  In addition to the firm’s projects in Crystal Cove, Newport Coast, Newport Beach, Balboa Island, Balboa Peninsula, Shady Canyon, Emerald Bay, and Laguna Beach, they have projects in Napa, Pasadena, Pebble Beach, Orcas Island in the state of Washington, and volunteer projects in other parts of the world including Africa, Indonesia, England, and other locations.

Richard comes from a family of artists and has always had a natural talent for creativity and artistry. But he’s also enjoyed technical things since childhood and was fascinated by the way things were put together. Combining art and technical skills was a perfect combination for his chosen study architecture. He earned his bachelor’s degree in the study at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

He is one of the few architects that does create his own renderings, offering his clients both interior and exterior drawings of their homes. So within a few weeks, their clients can see three-dimensional drawings of the concepts. Few architects do that anymore; it’s a good tool to artfully express a concept at an early stage.

His drawing skills help their clients and other team members visualize spaces and forms of the homes in the earliest stages of design.

What does Richard enjoy doing in his free time when he’s not busy creating some of the world’s most beautiful homes? He enjoys skiing and also enjoys aviation. He loves to read, travel and experience new things on a regular basis. He and his wife Lynne frequently enjoy their desert home where you will still find him working on his latest preliminary design.

Learn more about Richard here!

Cte Stem Architecture

CTE Designates Architecture a STEM Subject

After decades of work, the discipline of architecture has been officially recognized as a STEM subject. Congress passed the STEM legislation designation and the bipartisan bill was sign into law by the  President. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has long lobbied for the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education (CTE) Act.

The CTE is intended to encourage a more diverse workforce and see that the promise of design as the synthesis of art and science are fulfilled through education. While architects and AIA components have been working to bring design to K-12 students through special programs and activities for years, this bill helps codify those efforts. Importantly, it exposes a new generation of students, and better prepares them for, a career in architecture.

~American Institute of Architects

STEM is an education curriculum that focuses heavily on the subjects of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. It is a growing movement in education around the world. STEM-based learning programs encourage and promote student interest in pursuing higher education and careers in those fields. STEM education typically uses a newer model of blended learning. It combines traditional classroom teaching with online learning and hands-on learning methodologies. Blended learning aims to give students the opportunity to experience different ways of learning and problem-solving. Recent studies show the U.S. ranks 38th out of 71 countries in math and 24th in science. Among the 35 members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the U.S. ranked 30th in math and 19th in science.

Education in STEM curriculum is crucial to the future of our children and the strength of the U.S. on a global scale. The work of the AIA on the CTE is a strong step towards a stronger future for students.  The CTE will open up more than a billion dollars in career and education grants to the states. It will modernize architecture programs, which have traditionally suffered in most education systems.

From the ADG Job Site

One of four walnut and metalized hanging progressive helix sculptures at the San Manuel Casino!

IMG 9648

by Gerald Olesker, CEO, ADG Lighting

Fuzhou Architecture 100

Fuzhou Tower New Centerpiece Feature in China

In Fuzhou, China, the Shimao North Riverfront Tower was made to be the centerpiece of a new business district within the city. The focal point of the project will be the super tall, twisting 1700-foot tower Shimao. The vision for this landmark in Fuzhou is to create a futuristic landmark with remarkable efficiency.

Surrounded by a total building area of 1.5 million square feet, the Shimao Fuzhou tower will consist of office spaces, a hotel and a breathtaking observation deck. The seven-story podium base for the tower will feature retail and cultural venues, along with hotel amenities, which will include a museum, a ballroom and a spacious conference center. It will also feature a large roof terrace with an amphitheater space.  The grounds will feature a sunken plaza, sculptured gardens and public gathering spaces.

A key feature of the Shimao Fuzhou tower will be two intertwining and twisting volumes, gently tapering towards the top, creating a dynamic and futuristic sculptural form. The tapered form is inspired by natural surroundings of the site, such as the rolling hills and flowing waterways. Shimao Fuzhou took contemporary inspiration from Chinese landscape painting and sculptured artifacts. The facade will be unique in so many ways, which is both ambitious and dynamic.

Shimao Fuzhou offers an innovative structure solution using outrigger trusses coupled with columns on the megastructure. In concert with the twisting envelope design,this optimized structural system is engineered to remove the diagonal frames typically associated with the megastructure. It is designed to provide maximum efficiency and minimal interference to the views by the diagonals. The tower incorporates sustainable strategies, such as photovoltaic panels, water harvesting system, recycled building materials and external shading panels.

The Shimao Fuzhou Tower was designed with a holistic approach for a supertall building, blending architectural design with structural optimization, along with cultural and environmental sensitivity. The design aspired to act as a catalyst in the transformation of the North Riverfront district into a vibrant urban center.

From the Design Studio

A working concept …

From The Design Studio

by Gerald Olesker, CEO, ADG Lighting


Richard Rogers Architect

Richard Rogers Wins AIA Gold

Richard Rogers wins the 2019 AIA Gold Medal, and will be recognized at this year’s national conference in Las Vegas. Rogers is a Pritzker Prize-winning architect recognized for his work on the Centre Pompidou and the Lloyd’s of London headquarters. Rogers is recognized as one of the leading architects of the British high-tech movement. He stands out as one of the most innovative and distinctive architects of a generation.

After attending the Architectural Association in London, Rogers studied at Yale University, where he met architecture student Norman Foster. After graduating Yale, the two architects joined forces with Su Brumwell and Wendy Cheeseman to form Team 4 in 1963. Though their collaboration as Team 4 lasted just four years, it would prove to be a crucial formative stage in British architecture, as both Rogers and Foster went on to be the leading names of the British high-tech scene.

Rogers began another fruitful collaboration after Team 4; this time with Renzo Piano, whose big break came in 1971 when, working with architect Gianfranco Franchini and Peter Rice, an engineer from Arup, won the competition to design the Centre Pompidou. Rogers and Piano shocked many with their radical design, placing the building’s services in full view in a trademark technique that went on to be known as “bowellism.” He considers the work his team delivered through the Urban Task Force to be among his most significant achievements. The initiative brought together a range of people who were concerned with the physical environment, from academics, planners and politicians to developers and architects.

Since 1947, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) had awarded the AIA Gold Medal, which is conferred by the AIA Board of Directors. It is awarded to those architects for a significant body of work with influence on the theory and practice of architecture.

From the Factory Floor

New doors for the bar!



by Gerald Olesker, CEO, ADG Lighting